Program Overview

Officially, this area is organized into two tactical branches: Branch 1 covers the area from Devil’s Slide to Frenchman’s Creek Road and Branch 2 covers the area from Frenchman’s Creek Road to Tunitas Creek Road.

Coastside CERT Branch 1 covers the area from Devil's Slide to Frenchman's Creek Road and Branch 2 covers the area from Frenchman's Creek Road to Tunitas Creek Road.

Organizational Structure

Coastside CERT is officially registered with FEMA and the State of California with the following details.

  • Program: Coastside CERT Branches 1 and 2 (operating jointly)

  • Sponsor and Fiscal Agent: Coastside Fire Protection District

  • Sponsor Point of Contact: Unit Chief Nate Armstrong

  • Program Manager and Lead Instructor: Division Chief David Cosgrave

  • Program Coordinator: Cynthia Sherrill

In practice, Branches 1 and 2 operate jointly with the program coordinator handling day-to-day responsibilities for both branches as directed by Chief Cosgrave.

Other than Coastside Fire Protection District uniformed leadership and instructors, Coastside CERT is a 100% volunteer organization. Coastside CERT is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with an operating budget funded entirely by donations from our community.

Mission Statement

Coastside CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) is an emergency preparedness volunteer organization focused on creating a ready and resilient community along the San Francisco Bay Area coast from the southern side of the Tom Lantos Tunnel (Devil’s Slide) to Tunitas Creek Road. We work to protect our own, our family’s and our neighbors' lives, the environment, and property through emergency preparation, disaster response, emergency first aid and rescue actions, and public education.

Program Implementation

Our goal is to create a prepared and resilient community that will have an orderly and calm response to an emergency, disaster or prolonged utilities disruption. Additionally, we connect neighbors so that the community works cohesively and effectively together. Coastside CERT accomplishes these goals with a core leadership team supporting dual synergistic programs:

  1. Delivering free training for

    • Community Emergency Response Team (CERT)

    • Listos Program

  2. Coordinating Neighborhood Emergency Preparedness

Our training program ensures that, when officially activated, our CERTs will be the source of reliable, actionable information for first responders and be visible and useful resources for the neighborhoods.

Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Program

CERT is a national program that trains the general public in basic disaster preparedness, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization, and disaster medical operations. Here on the Coastside, Chief Cosgrave also covers hazards specific to our coastal community.

Coastside CERT provides free basic emergency preparedness training program, advanced CERT courses, refresher courses, and special topic presentations. For information about our 2022 training opportunities, please see our Home Page.

LISTOS Program

LISTOS ( is a state-wide grassroots disaster preparedness program that can be tailored to meet the individual needs of Spanish-speaking communities. Family-oriented and taught in Spanish, the program is delivered in a format that is both culturally and linguistically appropriate for the target population. Classes are held via Zoom. Current Listos training dates on the Coastside:

  • 2022 Session 1: February 5 10:00 am -3:00 pm with breaks

Contact to register or for more information.

Neighborhood Emergency Preparedness

Coastside CERT’s Neighborhood Emergency Preparedness is a local, homegrown grassroots program that relies on community involvement. Neighborhoods are meeting to define their own priorities and organize themselves around three objectives:

  1. Prepare each residence. This focuses on basic emergency preparation and hazard mitigation.

  2. Meet your neighbors before a disaster and create an emergency response plan for each block and neighborhood. This includes neighbors helping neighbors, rally points and a communication plan with first responders.

  3. Implement resilient shelter-in-place resources. This includes, but is not limited to, alternative power sources, water purification, telecom microgrids.

We encourage all levels of participation:

  1. Don’t have any spare time? Prepare yourself with:

    • Water — 1 gallon per day per person (don’t forget your pets!)

    • Food — items that don’t need to be refrigerated or cooked (don’t forget your pets!)

    • First aid kit — including prescription and over-the-counter medications & pet meds

  2. Can check on your immediate neighbors? Coordinate with your Block Captain.

  3. Can help disseminate information to your block? Volunteer to be a Block Captain.

  4. Can facilitate meetings in your neighborhood and liaise with Coastside CERT and other neighborhoods? Volunteer to be a Neighborhood Lead.

We can’t do everything at once, but we can make progress towards resilience in small, coordinated steps, emphasizing common sense communications, cooperation, resource management, and risk mitigation.

As of January 22, 2023 our neighborhood overview is:

  • 32 neighborhoods

  • 2,109 in the roster

  • 361 CERTs

  • 114 Hams

  • 136 Leads and 60 Support residents in our neighborhoods

For more details on each neighborhood, please see the Roster Summary spreadsheet and our Neighborhoods > Get Involved page.

Why is Emergency Preparedness Important?

While we are part of the larger Bay Area, we only have two, mostly two-lane roadways leading in and out, which greatly increases our chances of complete isolation in a regional disaster. We are subject to: pandemics, earthquakes, tsunamis, fires, mudslides, road washouts, treefalls, flooding, bridge destabilization, tunnel closures, and utility and telecommunications disruptions.

Local Sister CERT Organizations

Coastside CERT fits into a larger regional network of adjoining CERT organizations:

Program: South Coast CERT (Branch 3)

  • Area: Covers south of Tunitas Creek, including San Gregorio, Pescadero, La Honda, and Loma Mar.

  • Sponsor and Fiscal Agent: La Honda Volunteer Fire Brigade

  • Program Manager: Pat O'Coffey

  • Coordinator: Kathleen Moazed

Program: South Skyline CERT (Branch 4)

  • Area: Runs above Branch 3 south along Hwy 35 to the Santa Cruz County Line.

  • Sponsor and Fiscal Agent: La Honda Volunteer Fire Brigade

  • Program Manager: Pat O'Coffey

  • Coordinator: Tom Hempel

Program: Kings Mountain CERT

  • Area: Kings Mountain CERT territory runs east along Hwy 35 above Woodside.

  • Sponsor and Fiscal Agent: Kings Mountain Volunteer Fire Brigade

  • Program Manager: Jon Fredrikson

  • Coordinator: Kim Ohlund

Other regional CERT Programs:

  • Pacifica CERT

  • Central County Fire CERT (Hillsborough, Burlingame, Millbrae)

  • San Mateo Consolidated Fire CERT (San Mateo, Foster City, Belmont)

  • Highland CERT (upper San Mateo)

  • Woodland/Portola Valley CERT

Other Local Volunteer Organizations

CERT is just one of many local volunteer emergency response programs making a difference in our community. We coordinate with Coastside Emergency Action Plan (CEAP), Half Moon Bay Amateur Radio Club (HMBARC), Amateur Radio Emergency Services (ARES), Large Animal Evacuation Group (LAEG), Red Cross Shelter Operations Committee, Peninsula Humane Society, Disaster Airlift Response Team (DART), and Medical Reserve Corps (MRC), as well as local social service agencies. Coastside CERT liaises with and is working toward a unified emergency response plan with local and county government agencies.